Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Cutting A Straight Line"

As my children were growing up, I tried to instill within them to listen to God's word and follow with all their heart. I know many parents would say the same. As I preached over the years teaching them this, today they are all grown. I encourage them now to make certain they continue in the word, not following their father but God being convinced in their own faith from His word. I encourage those that I preach to here to be students of God's word, not fearful of what He says but allowing Scriptures to have the final say in all matters. We won't ever know it all and sometimes we can be wrong in what we think is true but a heart that looks and longs for God's word will always be led into being filled with what is true. Jesus taught those words about hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
Paul taught Timothy: "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth." (II Tim. 2:15) How many times has that verse been quoted or taught? Quoting the verse and holding to the verse are two different things. "Accurately" is the Greek word 'akribos' which means "to cut a straight line." In other words, by presenting yourself to God as someone true and genuine, you are "to cut a straight line" without taking side roads or different roads that aren't there. It is very difficult sometimes to handle the word of truth accurately. It takes an honest, open heart toward to Lord to do such.
This week alone, with the many phone calls I receive, 3 really stood out to me. All three were from people from different states, none knowing the others and dealing with the same difficulty of trying to handle accurately the word of truth. They were similar in content and the individual calling was struggling in dealing with Christian's that did not handle the truth accurately. One gentleman, a preacher 84 yrs. of age but a heart of gold, was struggling trying to show some younger preachers to stop adding things that just weren't there. I know it can be scary sometimes to have to look at Scriptures open and honestly. Too many have 'canned' beliefs that are just passed on because of a book or someones idea or even a tradition that wasn't handed down by the apostles. I know I have had my share of struggles with certain issues over the years. In each phone call, when trying to keep the word of God for what it was saying, individuals were adding words or thoughts that was not presented from God's word. The individuals these 3 were dealing with kept adding words to verses or thoughts to verses that weren't there or implied. That made it very difficult for faith to be built in anyone.
When we approach God's word or approaching another with God's word, we need to let it be what it says without adding our own commentary of ideas. "It must be because of this..." is an added commentary. God's word means what it says. We must deal with the context to whom it is written, why it is written and let it be. One preachers trap that I have to work on constantly is making sure when preaching/teaching not to give my personal opinion in a matter. It is difficult but I work hard at presenting myself back to God as approved to the best of my ability, avoiding my opinion while trying to allow the Scriptures to uphold themselves. It's work and an on-going struggle but the result is "cutting a straight line" for the hearers and not being accused of manipulating or 'opinionating' my thoughts in the Scriptures. Just listen the next time someone speaks of Scripture and listen closely how they say, "I think" or "I believe" or "It's my personal view" while looking at the Scriptures. "Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar." (Prov. 30:6)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I was recently reading some old news headlines and ran across one that caught my attention: "ABANDONED: 11 kids, including family of 9" - Eleven children, ranging in ages from 1 to 17 were left at two Nebraska hospitals. They were abandoned by their caretakers and turned over to the state. What was surprising is nine of the children came from one family! A father left his five boys and four girls at a hospital. In the other incident, two other boys, ages 11 and 15, were abandoned at a Medical Center.
Nebraska has a law on the books that gives people the ability to abandon their children up to the age of 19 without fear of prosecution. The law was originally meant to protect infants but you can see how loose the law is. It seems that in each case, the parents who abandoned their children felt overwhelmed and decided they just didn't want to responsibility to be a parent anymore. How tragic is it to be a child and made to feel unwanted and unloved by their mother or father.
I know there are several applications we could draw from this but one thing became clear to me. Jesus became our sin on our behalf (II Cor. 5:21). God does not and cannot fellowship sin so Jesus found Himself paying the ultimate price for taking our sins on Himself: separated from God. However, not abandoned! Peter speaks in Acts 2:27, 31 that it was foretold that Jesus would not be abandoned to Hades. The Father who sent His Son on trial and the punishment for our guilt as being death, was not abandoned. God raised Him up!
Mankind is lost! Sin creates a separation between us and God but God has not abandoned us. He left us a way back into a relationship, fellowship with Himself. God sought us out through His Son and those who put their faith in Jesus, confessing and forsaking their sins, being baptized into union with Him for forgiveness of sins find a wonderful life in His presence. God has not abandoned us! The only question for us is have we abandoned God?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"An Agenda"

They came for study. It didn't take me long that they actually came to straighten me out! I can use some straightening out from time to time. The Lord knows how much I need to understand and grow and I realized that is why He sent this man.
As we sat, the gentleman began to question me about where I stood on this issue and that issue. I could see it could get out of hand quickly. I sat and listened mostly. Even with the questions being asked, I was given little opportunity to respond. The Lord was helping me there too! I was glad not to respond. The man became a little more pressing and wanted to know where I stood on a particular subject. He paused this time, waiting for a reply. I looked at him and said, "I stand right where the Scriptures stand!" and gave him the verses. It took him back for just a few seconds and he responded, "And where would that be?" I asked, "You wanted to help me from God's word, I thought you would know what those Scriptures say?" He knew what they said. He was trying to trap me to get me to say something that would lead into conflict. My mind instantly went to Jesus when the Pharisees were questioning Him, trying to trap Him in a statement. I have been through this before. I went silent and listened from that point, offering little and careful with what I did offer. I don't know his real motive but I do know he wasn't there for pure purposes of studying Scripture. He had an agenda.
It is sad when people aren't sincere about God's word. I am not trying to bash. I am saying that when we come together, we need to listen and learn from God's word. Many have an agenda and that agenda is what is foremost on their mind, not a sincere faith in God's word. It creates difficulties between people and it becomes difficult to lead anyone to Christ because we want to press an issue rather than let God tell us what we need to hear so a genuine faith can be built.
I guess today I want us to be careful when speaking with others. Listen to God! Let His word be His word because you might discover that what you think you know, you might be found that you didn't know. That's how false doctrines get started. Have a good day!

Monday, September 27, 2010

"No Southern Gentleman"

While recently on a trip, I was listening to a preacher speaking of God. In his personal assessment one thing became clear: to him God was nothing more than "a nice southern gentleman!" It was surprising as I listened to his ideas of teaching about God. There was little conviction but a lot of 'goo' that he had come up with in his personal ideas and beliefs about God.
It struck me how many think of God in those terms. Here came Jesus, God in the flesh, and He just nicely and politely entered into the lives of people? He was so 'genlemanly' and polite? Please don't misunderstand me. I do believe in the kindness of God and as I read, you can see the compassion of Jesus toward those who are hurting but let's look just a little closer. God confronted His people, Israel, with their sinfulness. They were disobedient at times and they were punished for their disobedient. The nation was strewn over a wilderness with dead bodies for 40 years because they simply refused to believe and obey the voice of the Lord. Jerusalem was destroyed 3 times in history because of their refusal to obey. Jesus came and condemned the religious leading Pharisees because of their sinful attitudes and self-righteous displays. (Just read Matthew 23 and you will see it.)
Maybe the reason we aren't making more progress is because we are no longer being confronted with the holiness and righteousness of God. God abounds in mercy and forgiveness but He also confronts those in their sins. There needs to be a call for people to turn with all their heart to the heavenly Father who bought them through the blood of His Son. Hearts need to be confronted with the seriousness and responsibility of our fellowship with God.
God is working at redeeming people but people cannot be redeemed who are not confronted with the seriousness of sin in their lives. Hearts need to turn to the true and living God while turning away from sin. The Thessalonians did such (I Thes. 1:9-10). God desires a relationship with us but that relationship will be based on His holiness and not some "southern gentleman" demeanor. God's concern is man sharing, fellowshiping in His life from a heart of obedience and humility. There we will find the mercy and grace in abundance.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Starving Souls"

Starving, starving people. We see places in the world where families are longing for food. They are very limited in their resources and the effect it has on the little children is heart-wrenching. People raise funds to feed and help those less fortunate.
No one seems to be concerned about the under-nourishment from God's word. People are starving, especially in the church! The word of God is not held up in honor and the way to producing genuine faith but it is used in ways that are never intended. I was reminded of this again while speaking in another state this week. People coming from hours away just to hear God's word spoken. A lady who was visiting from Ohio came up and said that she never knew that biblical preaching like she had just heard existed anymore. She said she hadn't heard that in over 30 years! It makes you wonder what is happening in her part of the country. That's heart-wrenching. Here she was visiting family but was at each service to feast on God's word.
People need to be fed and that feeding comes from the word. Preachers are leading people everyone, to every type of feel good situation, basking in attention while the people starve. Starved souls lead to weak and feeble living. Weak and feeble living leads to worldliness and just another form of religion that copies the ideas and paths of the lost world around.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"The Battle Rages On"

It was the most agonizing time in his life. It was even worse than when his first wife passed away! The battle is building and there is no telling what will come out. The man has put his whole heart, his whole faith on Christ Jesus.
Three years after his wife passed away, he met a lady who had lost her husband. They married but he never saw what he encountered. She was evil to the heart. It took him a while to realize she was after money. There are a lot of things I don't know and never will but that's not what I want us to see. She has taken him to court, filing for divorce and half of all his assets. She got her daughter to testify that her husband had hit her and she witnessed it. The case was building. She got a restraining order against him trying to say her life was in danger.
This gentle, humble man was facing a mountain of hurt. He didn't know what to do but one thing. He began reading how Jesus was falsely accused, His trial at the hands of godless people and the enduring pain. That was his Lord! God brought His Son through it all and this man held to the promises of God that the same would happen.
Not once did this man respond to this woman's threats. He just kept trusting the Lord will stand by him and help. Slowly but surely, little things began to crack in the ungodly armor of this lady. She began trying to contact him. The man just quietly turned it in to the judge. For someone to be in a life threatening situation and need a restraining order, why would she try to contact him? The judge took notice. The man kept a good attitude during the battle. The daughter watched this man humbly endure without a word and her conscience got the best of her. She got word to the judge that she had lied. She was going to face some charges herself. Little by little, piece by piece the case is falling apart.
The man who is a friend of mine now, shared this experience with me, with tears in his eyes but a heart of thanks. It's not over yet but one thing for sure, she could never never take his faith. He held to the promises of God and rested on two things: "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice." (Phil. 4:4) That was his attitude because: "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28) It's been a long time since I have seen someone practice faith like this. I saw the same thing in a wonderful Christian lady once when her husband was doing her great harm. All I can do is thank the Lord for the reality of salvation and those who stand firm with a conviction and trust that I want to grow into.

Monday, September 20, 2010

"What Are You Waiting For?"

If I were to ask you what is the greatest thing you are presently looking forward to, what would you answer? Do you have your sight set on some particular thing? I know we have things that excite us, waiting for something or someone to arrive.
The Thessalonians were encouraged " you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come." (I Thes. 1:9-10) They were waiting for Jesus to come back! His return was real and they knew that it would be Jesus who would rescue them from the wrath of God that was coming on mankind.
The Hebrew writer reminds us that Jesus is going to return a second time, having nothing to do with sin or even speak of sin (Heb. 9:28). He is coming back for those who "eagerly await Him." Those eager for Jesus to come back are those who's sins have been forgiven. They belong with all their heart to Jesus and He wants to bring us home. Jesus wants God's children to be home, safe and sound! Jesus wants to bring an end to all temptations and failings by coming back and taking us to God's presence where not one sin can ever have entrance or destroy a life. Jesus is coming! Let me ask you again, what is the greatest thing you are presently looking forward to in your life?

Thursday, September 16, 2010


We need to desperately understand God's idea of fellowship. Maybe somehow our gatherings have blinded us to what the Lord means by fellowship. I just want to give some food for thought, encouraging you to study it for yourself. I often here brethren, when they get up in front of an assembly, asking for people to find a place to sit and hated to disturb all the fellowshipping.
Many have defined fellowship as seen in social activities with other Christians. While one might want to make an argument for that, that is not God's concept of fellowship. There is nothing wrong for brethren to get together and eat, enjoying the company of others. Paul was looking forward to that if he came to the brethren at Rome (Rom. 15:32). But Paul did not call that fellowship. What we need is to recognize the difference between fellowship and just plain social time enjoying the company of other Christian's.
Fellowship has a purpose! It is intended to strengthen faith, renew the spirit and encourage each other to the Lord. Without true fellowship, strength is lost, the body is weakened and it our lives become nothing more than fun and games with each other. The biblical term "fellowship" literally means a sharing in common, to share together with or participate with. That sounds like social, doesn't it? Wouldn't that be "date night" or "parents night out?" For fellowship to be a gain, it begins with sharing in the things of God. In I John 1:1-3, John and the apostles "fellowshipped" or shared in God's life. They fellowshipped God and Jesus and he is writing to the saint so we can fellowship in the same thing. If they were going to fellowship with the apostles, they needed to share in the same life of God. The same with us! The apostles experienced the life (v.1-2). They touched the life of God through Jesus. They saw, heard, beheld and proclaim the life that was with God they contacted through Jesus Christ. Fellowship is drawing and participating in the life of God! Without God and Christ, there is no fellowship, only "socialship."
What do we learn? When we fellowship with one another, it means we share the life of God in common and work in and off of His life. That's where the encouraging comes in. That's where the talk comes about. There is no fellowship apart from God and Jesus! If we fellowship with one another, what do you think our minds, hearts and lives will be centered around?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"The State of Depression (2)"

I could only wish that we would pay more attention to God's word and be convicted in our hearts that it holds the answer to our every need and situation. When we talk about depression, too many buy into the worlds ideas and thinking believing that some things are physical and others are spiritual. Everything about us is tied to our spiritual side! From guilt, to anxiety to depression.
Depression is a reaction that takes place in the mind. It works off the reactions to our feelings in situations. How you view a situation will determine how you react to it. Our mind set is how we view things and will determine how we react. If we see things as a loss, they will be a loss because our mind has already pushed our lives there. If the mind is set on the things above, when difficulties hit we see what God is doing. When people live their lives around their feelings and difficulties arise, it leads them down a dark and dreary road. The only way to rise above is look at things through the eyes of God, trusting what He says is true. That's what allows your feelings to come under control.
In Jam. 1:2 we are told to "consider it all joy when you encounter various trials." The trial is not joyful but your mind set toward the trial is what will determine everything. The word "consider" literally means to lead the way before the mind. When our attitudes are not right when we encounter difficulties or disappointments, we cave in and the state of hopelessness and fears start leading the way before our minds. Before long, we are down-trodden headed to depression.
Let me offer this: would you like to be a stronger person? Do you desire your faith to be strengthened? How are you going to get there? You must change your mind and attitude about situations realizing what God is doing in this difficult trial (Jam. 1:3-4). Here are three things to consider: (1) What if we decide, before the next thing that comes, to deal with whatever it is with a proper mind set? That leads you to living today to the fullest and let tomorrow deal with tomorrow. It eliminates our fears. (2) When a difficulty/trial comes, count is as joy. Is it pleasant? NO! But what are you going to do with that difficulty? Count it all misery and depression? If we would take hold of God and His word in our mind right now, trials would not allow us to head down the wrong road. (3) "Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance." (Jam. 1:3) What will you know about the difficult that arises? It will make you stronger if you change your mind and attitude. During your difficulty, your life is really taking shape from God's side, from within your being. God is "weeding out" all those impurities in your faith and that things that get in your way. That's what the term "testing" means. The Lord is using it to grow stronger.
Finally to conclude, Paul practiced the very things the inspired writer James wrote. In II Cor. 1:8-11, Paul saw himself burdened excessively even to the point that there was no way out of the situation. What did he learn? He counted it all joy from the standpoint he realized it was to teach him not to trust in himself, his skills or wants but in God who raises the dead. There is power in following God! There is power in changing your mind set if we submit to God. It will ruin one if they continue to be consumed with "us" and the situation during the time of difficulty!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"The State of Depression"

We hear little teaching on depression. What many have believed is what the medical world tells us and that's as far as it goes. There can be some health issues that can bring on depression but depression for the most part is caused by something we might not even be aware and God addresses it for us.
I am very sensitive to those who have bouts with depression, so please understand that. I am addressing a generality. Depression is defined as a state of sadness, a decrease in functional activity. In other words, it makes one where they do not want to do anything and when they do, it is a struggle. With-drawing from people is one of the sure signs.
Depression is a response! It is a reaction to something. Over the years I have dealt with many who have been depressed and they have a don't care attitude because they have been beaten down. One real legitimate cause of depression could be the loss of a loved one. How we react to a loss is what determines the outcome in our lives.
Here is the help to keep on from going into depression. We need to be working on the spiritual side of things. Too many are building their lives around the physical, the externals and when things don't go the way they want or they lose what they have put their heart into, it crushes the spirit and it takes one into depression. Hopes are built so high on the wrong things, when they are taken away or don't work out, we react to that failure or loss! The most prevalent cause of depression is caused by being overly self-centered, wanting what we want. When this happens, there is almost nothing that can be done to help them out because their heart is set on getting something or doing something and when they can't attain to it, it creates depression. Depression is a reaction. I have known men over the years that were very athletic and as they aged, they no longer can do what they once did. It was the most important part of their life and they react taking them into depression.
How do we solve this? How do we keep this from happening? We need to learn how to react properly to things and have some understanding to what God is looking for so we can deal with situations in our lives properly. We need to be feeding our spiritual well being more and our physical well being less.
James 1:2 speaks to "consider it all joy when, my brethren when you encounter various trials." Will we have various difficulties come into our lives? Are there going to be disappointments and big problems? "Consider" is a mind set! Within your being, your mind must make a proper reaction to the difficulty or disappointment you face. That starts within your heart. To approach the trial with a proper state of mind is most powerful. Again, reacting properly to something is what the Lord needs us to do. Set your mind NOW to deal with it properly. When it comes, we can "consider it all joy." We must be dealing with our spiritual lives!
How did those first century brethren find strength and keep a proper perspective of life when they were thrown into prison for no reason or had to live in caves just to escape for their lives because they believed in the Lord (Heb. 11)? How did they deal with loved one being murdered for the name of Christ? We face none of those things today and yet understand so little how to cope with life's difficulties. Learning to have the proper mind set is the secret. It's called a sincere faith. More tomorrow!

Monday, September 13, 2010

"Here We Go Again: Preachers"

I want to revisit the notion of preaching. I hope this doesn't tire those who read. I am not trying to do that. It is almost weekly where I get phone calls about preachers. There is something seriously going on. Last week alone I had several calls where congregations are looking for "solid" preachers. Four congregations that alerted me had been through preachers who could "smile like a million dollars, had a personality that draws people to themselves but were as empty as a dried up lake!" That was the way one such case was described to me.
I once was told a story about a preacher that was so full of himself that he preached a very long sermon. One of the members asked him, "Have you ever been told by anyone that they could listen to you preach for hours?" The preacher replied, "Well, no, I don't think so." The member responded, "Well, what made you think that we felt that way today?" I know there are jokes running around about preachers, some are rather entertaining but there is nothing, I repeat NOTHING that is more essential in the saving of souls and helping people remain faithful to the Lord than solid, Biblical preaching!
Preaching has a history. We can go back to Noah who was a "preacher of righteousness" (II Pet. 2:5). God called Jeremiah, Isaiah, Joel, Amos, Jonah, John, Jesus, the apostles, Paul, Timothy, Barnabas and a host of others to preach His word! I can't stress that enough. Too much party and social and not enough preaching God's word.
We might discover a lot of cures for diseases in our day and time. We might build safer places for our children and playgrounds for their safety. We push personal agendas, like to be entertained and want to be well liked by all. There is one thing that is more important than any of the things (and a host of others) that I have mentioned: Preach the word because that is the ONLY thing that can save a soul from eternal doom! Nice lessons never saved a soul. Only preaching the word will bring conviction and faith. Anything less just wastes time of both the preacher and the listeners.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Too Much Talk"

They are excited about the Lord! I love it when people are excited about the Lord and want to talk about Him. You find encouragement and it helps you look at things that make you study and dwell on God's word. I wish there were more people who talked the Lord.
But then you have those people who want to speak about the Lord and when they speak, they go one for a while and when they are done, you have no clue as to what they said! They are more confusing that encouraging. It gets to a point that they actually wear you out. Some people talk just to hear themselves talk it seems. They dominate the conversation, with little regard for the person with whom they are speaking and there is hardly a stopping place. If you chime in with a word, that starts them back up again for the next agonizing words and endless minutes (which seems like hours) that go nowhere and are of no help. They are so out of touch with the reality of the Lord they have no clue as to what they are doing other than talking! In their mind because they are talking about the Lord, they believe they are being helpful but have no cohesion in their conversation and pull a verse from here and there while making no sense. I must say, I have a few people who speak with me that are just like this.
I am not trying to bash anyone. I want people to realize when the speak, they need to learn how to communicate and be considerate (that's what love is) of others. Communicating with someone is not about dominating them but sharing with them what you have gained in a brief, concise way and give them the opportunity to share. Even the apostle Paul in his desire to go to Rome wanted to be with those brethren and encourage their faith and let them encourage his faith (Rom. 1:11-12). Paul was looking forward to finding refreshing rest in their company (Rom. 15:32). It's not refreshing when someone dominates.
We have two ears and one mouth. We need to listen more and talk less. We need to make certain that whatever we are talking about, make sense and be considerate. Don't just jabber with a bunch of words tying them to the Lord and think the listener will understand. You have to understand in your own mind so you can impart help to the hearer. Otherwise, you just wear people out!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Too Smart For Our Own Good"

Sometimes people are too smart for their own good. People use their smarts to out-smart themselves spiritually. The word of God loses importance while other things gain importance (such as books that are read).
In Matthew 13:54, the people are astonished where Jesus got His wisdom and powers. They didn't know the source. Their thinking concluded they knew His family and it sure didn't come from them. The result was Jesus did not help them because their own unbelief stopped everything. Jesus saw their attitude toward Him and His wisdom. Unbelief always stops people from making spiritual progress. They were too smart for their own good!
John 5:38ff, Jesus points that a proper attitude toward His word brings true spiritual growth. The unbelief of the people kept His word from abiding in them. They read the Scriptures but they were using them the wrong way! They had become a people that wanted the glory and acceptance of men and not the glory of God. Many do the same today. They are more concerned with what people say and think rather than God! That prevents people from making true spiritual progress.
In the prayer of Jesus in Matthew 11:25ff, He prayers for the infant, the true believers that listen to His word and His word alone and the rest depend on their own intelligence and wisdom. The result? Those who depend on their intellect and wisdom, the things of God are hidden from them. The rest that have a relationship with His word, trust His word and want God's glory rather than man's, they find the true spiritual insight.
Too many aren't listening with all their heart to Scriptures. They will not let the Scriptures lead them anywhere but they put their own ideas and twists from their intellect. Why? Because they are too smart for their own good and it is spiritually destructive!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Global WARNING"

The Lord God promised from the day He set the rainbow in the sky as a promise to never flood this world again, which He hasn't, stated to Moses: "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." (Gen. 8:22) As long as this earth remains, there will be seasons along with cold and heat. When are people going to learn to trust God. When are people going to listen to God instead of the world?
I cannot believe the number of those who claim Christ believe in the global warming theory. It is a money making scheme and many people have bought into it. On May 19, 2008, the World Net Daily News reported that 31,072 scientists, including 9000 with Ph.D's in the field of atmospheric science, earth science and climatology signed a petition, sending it to Washington, rejecting the global warming theory. Not one major news agency reported it! The number has grown since the reporting of this in 2008.
I am not trying to be political here. God's promises are always trustworthy and provides us insight to where man thinks they are smarter. I think it would do us well to pay more attention to Scripture and the truth than man who seems to distract us from the truth of God's holy word. What about you?

Monday, September 6, 2010

"Exalting People"

This morning my daughter and her husband along with my wife and I were sitting at the table eating breakfast. It was beautiful outside and we were spending the last bit of time together before they headed back to their home. They are such a delight for us and give our hearts great encouragement for their future because of their dedication and love for the Lord.
As we sat there speaking, my daughter was reading the biography of an individual whose name and books are sweeping our nation. As she read this biography out loud and the number of people that were attending the seminars they teach along with the many bible studies they offer, one thing kept coming forth. The individual kept talking about how special they were from their youth up. The parents of this individual praised them with accolades of being special with special gifts from the Lord. They were told that the Lord had great things in mind for them! It hit me, not one of the apostles that were handed picked by Jesus, that walked hand in hand with Him while He was on this earth and watched the many miracles performed, they never claimed to be "special." In fact, the apostles Paul said he was a "nobody" (II Cor. 12:11). Paul speaks about those who come with smooth and flattery speech, how they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. There are those who boast according to the flesh, to think they are special. That's not the way of the Lord! The Corinthians were being taken in to the point that they would bear with a person if they exalt themselves (II Cor. 11:20). People are so weak spiritually or lacking spiritual insight they have no clue what it truly from the Lord and spiritual. We seem to be a people that are taken in by eloquence and want to follow and learn from those "special." Here comes Jesus, the Son of the living God, on a mission of death for our sins, teaching and leaving us His word. We are all sinners! Our best is sinful. It seems many are more interested in the teachings of someone being exciting and eloquent while the truth is ignored. Jesus was right..."and few there will be who find it!"

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Free From Guilt"

Some people have a sense of guilt. They sense their guilt all the time. They know they have performed some past act and it still haunts them. They simply have difficulty over-coming. The problem with this is two-fold: (1) Lingered guilt will lead one into depression. (2) One cannot serve the living God while guilty.
(1) David was a man after God's own heart. He failed miserably at times. He committed adultery, murder and deceived. In all this, he was still a man after God's own heart. What made God speak of him in this way? Because David knew where to turn, to run and find a release for his sins. He looked to the Lord God for his cleansing and direction. David offered to God what God asked for, an humble and contrite heart. As long as David kept silent about his sin, depression ate him up within (Psa. 32:3-4). When his heart turned to the Lord, he confessed his sin to God, in the presence of God, he found complete forgiveness (Psa. 32:5).
(2) When people are guilty, they try to serve the Lord to find relief. Their service is out of guilt and a release from their guilt and not the Lord. People in guilt often speak of praying more, studying more or attending more assemblies or studies. Why? They want to be free from guilt. That's backward. That's a work system. The blood of Jesus is the ONLY thing that can cleanse a guilty conscience to free one to serve the living God (Heb. 9:14). If the blood of Jesus isn't the basis of our cleansing within and our drawing near to God, then we are serving our guilt and ourselves and not the Lord. Many do not realize this. The blood is Jesus frees us and atones for our failures. The blood of Christ is our payment and no amount of work you do will atone for your sinfulness! Only through Jesus can one draw near to God! If you work your way out of your guilt, then your salvation is being based on your works and that leaves Jesus out.
Trust the atoning blood of Jesus! Let your heart approach Him being contrite and humble. Be honest toward the Lord and therein you will find release from your guilt. That brings you the freedom to serve from a heart and conscience cleansed!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"The Word of God"

I am amazed sometimes the ignorance of those claiming to be a child of God. What I mean by ignorance is they know little about God's word! I recently had one who said they "grew up in the church" and they didn't even know where certain books existed, if they were in the Old or New Testament. This reveals a deeper problem how little God's word really means to us. Does it mean that one never picks up His word to read and listen? Are we basing our relationship on the Lord because we attend an assembly but the reality of God has little effect on our live?

I meet people often that have a great zeal the Lord. They are excited about Him and talk about Him but their excitement and understanding is not based on the true knowledge of God as revealed but through some book, or some religious over-tones or through some type of service to others. That's their basis of their zeal. Zeal without knowledge is useless (Rom. 10:1-4).

Hosea speaks for God and expresses that God's people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge, the lack of knowing His word (Hos. 4:6). It is too easy to follow the path of the religious around us and not follow the path as revealed from God. Ignorance of God's word is killing us. Jesus was killed because God's people rejected God's word. Give us an exciting video or some moving story and people will eat it up but to study God's word, listening and heeding His voice, there is not much interest. Let's study from a book and people enjoy but let's study from the Book and people pause and are taken back. It is work for a teacher/preacher to study from the Word but it is much less effort to take a book or video and just "talk" about it!

The word of the Lord will get you to God. The word of the Lord will increase our faith. The word of the Lord needs to stand and we need teachers/preachers standing on His word and His word alone so the people can find pasture and feed which would create a true zeal for God. It lead us to salvation! For anyone to be saved, they must come to a knowledge of the truth (I Tim. 2:4). What are you feeding on?